BANGOR, Maine - Deon Wiggins caught four passes for a career-high 134 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn't enough as Husson lost its season opener to Alfred (N.Y.), 39-25, on Saturday afternoon at Winkin Sports Complex. The Eagles fall to 0-4 all-time against the Saxons.
Husson (0-1) seized the momentum early, as a bad snap on an Alfred (1-0) punt led to a safety and 2-0 Eagles lead. On its second offensive series, Husson drove 40 yards in nine plays, capping the drive with a Seth Freudenberger 23-yard field goal to make the score 5-0.
The Eagles forced their second of three first-half fumbles on the next Saxons drive after Kenny Sweet forced a Mike Fuentes fumble, which was recovered by Alonzo Connor at the Husson 45. Late in the first quarter, Joe Seccareccia connected with Robenson Saintard on a 15-yard scoring toss that gave coach Gabby Price's squad a 12-0 edge.
Alfred responded by scoring touchdowns on three-straight possessions in the second quarter to take a 21-12 lead. Tyler Johnson found Fuentes in the flat on a play-action pass to get the Saxons on the board early in the frame. After an interception on the ensuing Eagles drive, Johnson called his own number from two yards out.
Each of the first two Alfred scoring drives covered 65 yards.
Johnson and Fuentes hooked up for the second time in the game on a touchdown pass, this time coming from 26 yards out with less than three minutes remaining before halftime.
Another Husson drive stalled, but after a 37-yard Matt Martin punt that was downed at the Alfred 15, the Eagles defense again came up large. On third and six from the visitor's 19, Johnson scrambled looking to pick up the first down and kill the clock, but Sweet put his helmet on the ball and forced his second fumble of the game. Jeff Turcotte recovered the live ball, and the Eagles needed only three plays and 20 seconds to hit paydirt.
Seccareccia found Wiggins in the back of the endzone from 35 yards out with 32 seconds left in the first half. The extra point kick sailed wide, but Price's team trimmed the margin to three, 21-18, at intermission.
A Trevor Monk 21-yard field goal with 9:58 left on the clock in the third quarter increased Alfred's advantage to 24-18, but Husson's offense gained steam on its second series after halftime, putting together an eight-play, 69 yard touchdown drive. The march included a 13-yard scamper by John Smith and an 11-yard Seccareccia quarterback keeper. Four plays after the Saccareccia run, he took to the air for his third touchdown pass Saturday and second to Wiggins, who found the endzone from 31 yards out. The Freudenberger extra point kick was good, giving Husson a 25-24 upper hand with 6:06 on the clock in the third.
The Eagles forced a three and out on the next Saxons series, but on third and one, Corry Wallace forced a fumble which was recovered by Andy Miller at the Husson 15. An Eagles unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play allowed Alfred to start its drive at the Husson seven.
Fuentes scored for the third time Saturday on the next play from scrimmage, as Alfred regained the lead for good with 3:34 left in the third. Johnson's pass attempt to Ralph Pagliei on the two-point attempt was good, making the score 32-25.
Andy Miller forced a fumble while also getting a sack on second and 18, midway through the fourth quarter which was recovered by Wallace and returned 15 yards to the Husson 15. Johnson did all the work on the ground for the final touchdown in the game, rushing twice, the latter from two yards away to give the Saxons a two touchdown edge.
Johnson finished 11-of-18 passing for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
Fuentes racked up 109 yards of total offense, 55 coming on 10 carries and 54 on four receptions. He totaled 129 all-purpose yards.
Seccareccia was 20-of-38 through the air for 258 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Smith carried 24 times for 81 yards.
Greg Moore hauled in four passes for 65 yards.
Wiggins totaled 163 all-purpose yards.
Michael Berardi led the Saxons defense with 12 tackles and a tackle for loss.
Ellis Throckmorton totaled a game-high 13 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery for the Eagles. Sweet added 11 tackles, two forced fumbles and 0.5 tackles for loss. Turcotte and Marquis Jiminez each had six tackles. Bryant Wade had 1.5 tackles for loss. Turcotte and Wade each recorded a quarterback hurry. Jordan Hersom broke up two passes.
The Eagles committed four turnovers, and the Saxons added three of their own.
Husson racked up 353 yards of total offense, compared to 313 by Alfred.
Both teams struggled on third down. Alfred was just 2-of-10, while Price's bunch was 4-of-17.
The Eagles travel to Alfred State (N.Y.) for their final non-conference game of the season Saturday, Sept. 12, for a 1 p.m. ET scheduled kickoff.